In 1957, insurance lawyer James Donovan is assigned to defend Rudolf Abel, accused of spying for the Soviet Union. Attacked publicly and with the justice department putting obstacles in his way, he still convinces the court to spare Abel the death penalty. After CIA pilot Gary Powers is shot down in Soviet airspace in 1960, Donovan is persuaded to travel unofficially to East Berlin to arrange a prisoner exchange of Abel for Powers. But with his strong principles, the lawyer once again runs afoul of his government handlers, insisting that the exchange also include American student Frederic Pryor, arrested for spying in East Germany … Like Lincoln (2012) before it, Bridge of Spies is the work of “Citizen Spielberg” as Lester D. Friedman called his book. With a historical figure as a model, the director reminds us of the rights guaranteed in the U.S. constitution that were the source of the United States’ moral high ground during the Cold War. In East Berlin, Donovan the negotiator gets left out in the cold. The icy, pallid images reflect the complete torpor of the competing system – much like the high-contrast black-and-white cinematography of spy flicks in the 1950s and 1960s.
by Steven Spielberg
with Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Scott Shepherd, Amy Ryan, Sebastian Koch, Alan Alda, Austin Stowell, Billy Magnussen, Eve Hewson, Jesse Plemons, Michael Gaston, Peter McRobbie, Burghart Klaußner, Max Mauff
USA / Germany 2015 English 142’ Colour DCP: Park Circus, Glasgow Rating R12


  • Tom Hanks
  • Mark Rylance
  • Scott Shepherd
  • Amy Ryan
  • Sebastian Koch
  • Alan Alda
  • Austin Stowell
  • Billy Magnussen
  • Eve Hewson
  • Jesse Plemons
  • Michael Gaston
  • Peter McRobbie
  • Burghart Klaußner
  • Max Mauff


Director Steven Spielberg
Screenplay Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Matt Charman
Cinematography Janusz Kaminski
Editing Michael Kahn
Music Thomas Newman
Sound Steve Boeddeker, Gary Rydstrom
Production Design Adam Stockhausen
Costumes Kasia Walicka-Maimone
Producers Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt, Kristie Macosko Krieger

Produced by

Reliance Entertainment


Studio Babelsberg

Motion Pictures

Amblin Entertainment

Marc Platt Productions

Participant Media

Additional information

DCP: Park Circus, Glasgow